The Seventy Million Children Left Behind War

March 30, 2006 | By | 4 Replies More

The public grade school in my neighborhood has a science classroom, but no science teacher.  I’m not a teacher or a scientist, but I’ve been asked to help teach science there.   You see, there’s no money in the budget to hire a science teacher.  Therefore, all 350 of the children at that school are being “left behind” in science.  This same school has other unfilled teaching and tutoring positions too.  They just can’t afford to properly educate the children.  My neighbor Kate and other volunteers are filling in to help out, but the school is desperate for money and the students are desperate for a quality education.

Let’s make the assumption that it costs $50,000 to hire a teacher for a year.  If hired, assume that each teacher would educate at least 100 students each year and that those students would each benefit from that instruction for the remainders of their lives.

By the end of 2006, the Iraq Invasion and occupation will have cost this country $350 Billion.   That’s an awful lot of money.  That’s enough to hire two teachers for 3 ½ million years.  Or it could have hired 100,000 teachers for 70 years each.  This would have enriched the lives of 70 Million students, benefiting each of them for the rest of their lives.

This is why I think of Iraq every time I see dozens of educationally neglected children walking down my street toward the public grade school.   This is why I think of Iraq when I read that America’s children are not testing well on science, math or English. 

Because this Administration refuses to assign any metric to this War and because none of the stated goals of this War have been achieved, it is difficult to give a name to this War. I would recommend the following:  The Seventy Million Children Left Behind War.

This Country has a tomb for the Unknown Soldier from each major war.   I don’t know for sure whether we yet have recovered the remains of an unknown U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, but we now have a name for the resting place for those remains:  The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of The Seventy Million Children Left Behind War.


Category: Education, Iraq

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (4)

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  1. tom glassberg says:

    erich, i think i might have read somewhere that the true cost of the Iraq war to date is something like two trillion dollars, when you count all the future (but reasonably certain) costs of caring for the injured, veterans' benefits, etc. if this number is correct then you will have to change the name of the war (and the Tomb) by about a factor of six – 420 million children lefrt behind. But then are there even that many school children? If not, then this might create an enormous budget "surplus."

  2. Richard Glassberg says:

    How many teachers now (3/1/08)?

  3. Erich Vieth says:


    Here's an update on how much of a domestic issue the U.S. military occupation of Iraq is. First, one must figure out how much we've spent on the Iraq invasion/occupation (I refuse to call is a "war"). In November, 2007, the Washington Post estimated the financial cost (there are many other costs) at somewhere between $1 trillion and $1.3 tillion.

    Assuming that we now have spend $1.3 trillion, how many school teachers could we have hired (at $50,000/year per teacher)? That comes out to 26 million teacher/years. You can spread those teachers around in a variety of ways, of course. If you hired them all in one year, you would have 26 million more teachers this year. That might not make sense, because there are only about 7 million teachers employed in the United States currently. This means that the amount we've spent on Iraq equals about four times the annual salaries of all of the teachers we hire in the United States for one year (if my salary assumptions are in line). Or we could spead out all those new teachers of 70 years (this is example I used in the original post), giving us 371,428 more teacher per year for 70 years, with only the money we've spent so far in iraq.

    But our "education President" has chosen to spend this money in other ways.

    See also this post on the immensity of $1 trillion dollars.

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